GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks set to mostly rise after Fed projects U.S. GDP surge

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks set to mostly rise after Fed projects U.S. GDP surge
Credit: © Reuters.

* Fed sees 2021 GDP growth of 6.5%, unemployment at 4.5%

* Fed says to keep rates low through all of 2023

* Dollar falters as Fed dashes early U.S. rate hike view

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) - Asian stocks were set for modest gains on Thursday after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep monetary policy and rates unchanged and projected a rapid jump in U.S. economic growth this year as the COVID-19 crisis eases.

{{178|Japan's Ni Nikkei 225 futures NKc1 added 0.12%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures .HSI HSIc1 rose 0.68%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO , however, dipped 0.1% in early trading while E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 rose 0.08%.

While inflation is expected to reach 2.4% this year, above the central bank's 2% target, Fed Chair Jerome Powell called it a temporary surge that will not change the Fed's pledge to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero.

"If the Fed isn't going to induce tightening, it's very bullish for risky assets," said Teresa Kong, head of fixed income and portfolio manager at Matthews Asia. "We should be seeing a mild rally in Asian assets and currencies."

The Fed projected the U.S. economy will grow by 6.5% this year - the largest annual output growth since 1984 - thanks in part to massive federal fiscal stimulus and optimism around the success of coronavirus vaccines. sort of shocking ... that officially the United States government believes it will grow faster than the Chinese government believes it will grow this year," said Christopher Smart, chief global strategist at Barings Investment Institute in Boston, calling it a "head-turning moment for investors."

The S&P 500 closed at a record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 33,000 points for the first time on Wednesday, bolstered by the Fed's strong economic forecast and Powell's comments that it is too early to discuss tapering-off measures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.58%, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.29%.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC climbed 0.4% and remains down about 4% from its Feb. 12 record-high close.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX lost 0.45% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.22%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.46%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note US10YT=RR , last fell 4/32 in price to yield 1.6462%.

The dollar index dropped 0.5% to 91.405 =USD after the Fed comments. The euro rose 0.7% against the dollar to $1.1978 EUR=EBS . Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.1% to 108.87 yen JPY=EBS . Australian dollar rose 0.08% versus the greenback at $0.780.

Oil slipped for the fourth day on Wednesday, weighed down by rising U.S. crude inventories and by expectations of weaker demand in Europe, where the vaccine roll out is faltering. Brent crude LCOc1 settled 39 cents, or 0.6% lower, at $68 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 dropped 20 cents, or 0.3%, to end at $63.68. Global assets Global currencies vs. dollar Emerging markets MSCI All Country World Index Market Cap


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